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Three's Company
by Sue Shuckhart
I've been following Jack and Sue's travels since they began and it is easy because she writes beautifully and they are having a great adventure. They came to visit us before they took off with their friends to full-time and we told them that we didn't think it would work. We really thought that having to move three RVs at once and all agreeing on where to go would be a problem.
 But they proved us wrong. On their web gallery they have letters from the road and terrific picture albums.

 "Wait a minute…you're kidding, right?"  That was the reaction we got when we informed our kids that we were going to sell our Mesa home of 23 years, including almost everything in it, and buy a motor home to travel all over the country for the next 19 months.  Not only that but we had talked two other couples into doing the same thing.  The six of us were soon to become gypsies.  Our kids thought we'd all lost our minds!


OK…this was our logic…we were in our early 60's, good health, soon to retire, kids  married and on their own, and we love to travel.  RVing seemed like the perfect answer.  Some people's eyebrows shot up when they found out we had never RV'd before!  "How can you sell your house when you don't know whether you'll like it or not?" they would ask.  Good question.  For two years prior to our departure date, we did our homework.  We talked extensively to everyone we knew who lived and traveled full time in their motor home.  We read every book we could get our hands on.  We scanned the Internet for anything having to do with full-time RVers.  We literally crawled in and out of tons of motor homes to see what we did or did not like. We carefully researched the various manufacturers in regards to their safety records and customer satisfaction.  And finally after all of that, we each bought a 35' Dolphin LX.  We were like proud new parents, and our next life had begun!


Our kids soon jumped on the bandwagon and helped us organize several estate sales.  It felt great to clean out all the 'stuff' of 41 years of marriage.  We sold our mortgage company but worked right up until three days before we left.  Our house closed, we had several goodbye parties, and before we knew it, we were leaving Phoenix behind, uncertain of what lay ahead but filled with excitement and a wonderful sense of adventure.


Now what makes us different from most of the other people enjoying the RV lifestyle?  There are six of us! Three identical motor homes caravanning down the highway.  Somehow I cannot imagine following our dream without them!  We chose these traveling mates because we had all been friends for 25 years.  We knew they were easy-going, flexible, and positive-minded.  We were very compatible.


What are the benefits of traveling together? It is just so much more fun! We've been there for each other to give support and encouragement when it was needed.  We help each other problem-solve.  And we do bring out the best in each other.  I think it would be easy to get complacent and lazy with this relaxed lifestyle.  But our friends keep us stimulated, inspired, and entertained!  We have cried together, prayed together, laughed together, and celebrated together. We allow each other plenty of space, but it is our times together that nourish and rejuvenate us! 


We started this trip on May 1, 2006.  It is now 19 months later with 17,000 miles on the RV and 17,000 miles on our towed car.  We have travel letters filled to overflowing with stories of the wonderful people we have met, the experiences we have had, and the crazy, off-beat side trips we have made in the car.


We drove ATV's over the Oregon sand dunes, rode horses in the California surf, climbed a lighthouse at Cape Hatteras, saw a Broadway show in New York City, touched a moon rock at Kennedy Space Center, panned for gold in South Dakota, cried on a Gettysburg battlefield, discovered fragile and perfect sea shells in the warm Florida surf, rode on a Mardi Gras parade float, tasted wine from a California vineyard, felt the mist of Niagara Falls, stood in Thomas Jefferson's bedroom, cruised in jet boats on the Rogue River, leaned against the mighty Redwoods, sampled fudge in a seaside shop, and listened to taps at Arlington Cemetery.


We stood by the bed where Abe Lincoln died, smelled fresh flowers in the East Room of the White House, hovered over Smithsonian exhibits, grimaced when viewing post-Katrina New Orleans and felt stirring admiration at the feet of the Lincoln Memorial.  We stood on the volcanic outcropping of Mount St. Helens, felt the tremor of Old Faithful, mingled with the bikers at Sturgis, stared in disbelief at mass Civil War graves, looked into the stone faces of Mt. Rushmore, sat on the banks of the Swanee River, and strolled the Southern plantations.


 We walked the halls of Congress, stood fifty feet from the President, smiled as we saw the Statue of Liberty, became very quiet at Ground Zero, rode in an Amish buggy, stood where the plane crashed into the Pentagon and ate lots of chocolate in Hershey, PA.   These - and so much more - have been a part of our fascinating, delightful and moving journey. 


The dawning of each day brings new friends, fun places to explore and memories waiting to be made.  As promised, we will return for Thanksgiving in Phoenix and spend the winter there with our families and friends.  For us, it will always be 'home'. Then what?  Well…we're having way too much fun to stop now.  It is said that finding your passion will keep you young.  Guess what?  We are living ours!  When the weather starts to get hot, you can bet that you'll see three matching motor homes breezing down the highway looking for new adventures.  How sweet it is!